Dates set for school consultations

Two of the three schools affected by last year’s attempt to introduce a school closure motion are first on the list for upcoming school community meetings announced by the Clearview School District.

Byemoor School hosted the first meeting in the series on Tuesday, March 12. Donalda School will host the next meeting on Wednesday, March 20.

Gus Wetter School in Castor will host the first of six April meetings on Wednesday, April 3. Coronation’s meeting will be held the next evening on Thursday,  April 4 at the school. Botha’s meeting will take place on  Monday, April 8. The third school threatened with closure, Brownfield School, will host their meeting on Monday, April 15, with Big Valley School hosting their meeting on Tuesday, April 30. Erskine School will host their meeting on Thursday, May 2. Two meetings are scheduled for Stetter on Wednesday, May 1 and Monday, May 13. The locations for the Stettler meetings will be announced closer to the date.

All meetings will commence at 7 p.m.

The public meetings are in response to a motion to examine closing Byemoor, Donalda and Brownfield schools proposed in November 2012. News about the motion caused outrage in the affected communities, prompting scores of concerned citizens to pack the board’s meeting on Thursday, November 15 to make their voices heard.

While the meetings had been talked about before the closure motion was introduced, a motion proposed by Castor school trustee Karen Holloway at the November 15 meeting committed the school board to hold the meetings during 2013. That motion passed unanimously.

While the school closures were proposed in response to a nearly $700,000 budget deficit, these meetings are designed, according to board chair Ken Checkel, to give the public a clear idea of the board’s finances and to solicit suggestions on how to cut costs.

“Financial issues are the big concern,” Checkel told the Review. “We want to give people an idea of what their school is going to look like next year.”

According to Checkel, school board officials are scrambling to get their information squared away in time for the meeting in Donalda after the provincial budget announcement on Thursday, March 7. The school board held a special meeting on Monday, March 11 in which they discussed how the budget will specifically affect the school board’s funding.

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